NHTSA To Take Crash-Assessment Testing High Tech

Danny Choy
by Danny Choy
nhtsa to take crash assessment testing high tech
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is considering at length the changes that could be made to its 5-star crash-assessment testing. Rather than concentrate only on crash-worthiness, the NHTSA is looking into new technologies that put an emphasis on accident-avoidance.

NHTSA Administrator David Strickland says, “Crash-worthiness has been the guiding star for NHTSA. But if there’s an opportunity to prevent a crash– that is the goal.” Holding a speech for the Society of Automotive Analysts the day before the North American International Auto Show, Strickland wants to raise consumer awareness towards these new technologies.

On top of accident-avoidance devices like lane departure warning sensors, Strickland says NHTSA is also working on a framework for in-vehicle electronics in order to minimize driver distraction. Strickland explains, “We don’t want to stifle innovation, but we recognize technology (can impact) safety, so we will be setting in-vehicle guidelines so auto makers can innovate within a zone of safety.”

In order to collect data on driver distraction, NHTSA’s research program will be conducted on 2,000 vehicles with cameras to monitor driver behavior over a 2 year period. “The goal is to make sure we have an accurate picture of what is happening in the vehicles so that we’re not creating something that is a risk for every driver.”

The holy grail for automotive safety would be through the development of vehicle-to-vehicle communications, which NHTSA is committed to turning to reality. Studies have proved that the V2V system could eliminate 80% of crashes involving non-impaired drivers. This effectively lowers the number of traffic fatalities by almost 33,000 a year.

While it is unknown exactly when the V2V systems will be ready for mass use, a 3-year test program is currently being conducted, with automakers GM, Ford, Honda, HyundaiKia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen all taking part.

[Source: WardsAuto]

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